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22 June 2017 @ 11:40 pm
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QUICK CRYPTIC puzzle number / setter's name
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[Introductory comments including solving time if you wish, but it is not compulsory]

[Key to individual style if you are using one e.g. brackets, indicators, bold, italics etc. Again this is not compulsory]



Across
No1 CLUE
ANSWER - EXPLANATION
No2.
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No3
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No4
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No5
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No6
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No7
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No8
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No9
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No10
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No.
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No.
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No.
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No.
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No.
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No.

Down
No. CLUE
ANSWER - EXPLANATION
No.
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No.
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No.
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No.
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No.
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No.
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No.
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No.
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No.
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No.
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No.
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No.
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No.
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No.
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jackkt
Ian Baird from Framlingham, Suffolk, is worried that some seismic shift may be occurring in our cryptic crossword traditions. “Some years ago,” he writes, “I pointed out to you the difficulties young people would have solving The Times crosswords, owing to the fact that the setters were stuck in a time warp of about 70 years ago.” As evidence, Mr Baird referred to the setters’ convention of using slang from the 1940s, or earlier — like “SA” or “it” to mean sex appeal.

Now he’s got a different problem. “Old folks like me are used to the style, and so when I saw a clue about sexual appeal last week, I tried ‘SA’ and ‘it’. In fact the answer required us to know that to say someone is ‘fit’ means he or she has sex appeal, which as far as I am aware is a coinage from about three years ago.” What was more, he wrote, “In the same crossword, the word ‘moon’ was used to mean expose one’s bottom. If the crossword setters are going to use 21st-century slang, how are old buffers like me expected to finish them?”

Oh dear, what a worry. I asked Richard Rogan, The Times crossword editor, if the crosswords were having a midlife crisis. “It” and “SA”, he concedes, may well have outstayed their welcome. “The excuse offered is that they are so useful to the setter and in any case are part of ‘crossword convention’. Indeed the meaning of ‘moon’ (another useful one for us) goes back further than imagined, and ‘fit’ has meant more than just ‘highly trained’ for longer than one might think.”

To find out just how long, I went to Jonathon Green, whose majestic three-volume Green’s Dictionary of Slang must surely have the answer among its 100,000 or so entries. Under “fit” for good-looking, Green gives recent citations including Victor Headley’s 1992 novel, Yardie — “Dat girl yah fit, you know” — along with an example from San Francisco University High School from 2005. Further back, though, is a citation from 1884, in a novel by Henry Hawley Smart, From Post to Finish, A Racing Romance.

Smart was a military sort who, having served in the Crimean War and during the Indian Mutiny, lost all his money on the horses and made a second career writing “popular” fiction, largely drawing on his knowledge of racing, hunting and the Army. The particular citation for “fit” — “Blame me, I do know whether they’re turned out all right when I see ’em, and mean my girl to look as fit as any of ’em” — sounds to me as if it could equally apply to a horse as a woman, but if Green says it’s a human filly I’ll believe him.

Either way, I think “fit” passes muster as both ancient and modern slang for crossword purposes. “The dictionaries are our guide,” Richard Rogan says. “When they decide that a term is either archaic, or to be dispensed with, then we would probably reflect that. Similarly once a newer meaning has made it into the latest edition, then it is probably a signal that we can adopt it. Having said that, both ‘bling’ and ‘selfie’ have made it into our crossword in recent times before their debut in the ‘paper’ dictionaries.”
 
 
28 October 2015 @ 11:35 pm
This is a list of points about the Times puzzle that differ from at least some other cryptic xwds. (Posts with information like this that should be good advice for ever will be stored under the new "tips&tricks" tag.) Occasionally setters seem to take rules like this as a challenge and try to get rule-breaking clues accepted, and mistakes can be made, so you should ultimately rely on common sense and general principles of cryptic cluemanship, rather than strict application of this list of house rules derived partly from observation.

Some of these points are taken from a list on pp. 50-52 of Brian Greer's "How to solve the Times Crossword" - if setters know of changes to these since Brian's spell as editor (1995-2000), they are welcome to tell me by comment or e-mail. I'll update this posting with any points that I realise I've omitted as a result of future discussions.

Rules about clues

Hidden words
No more than one 'pure' hidden word clue per puzzle. (Reversed hidden words aren't 'pure' in this context.) (Limits like this are for 15x15 puzzles - if there are limits for jumbos, I don't know what the numbers are.)

Homophones
The exact rules are hard to determine by observation, but it seems to be that if the pronunciations in the reference dictionaries match, that's good enough. This allows post-vocalic R's to be ignored, as in RP - in an example from 17/1/2008, gutta-percha = "gutter percher".

Anagrams
No more than 5 pure anagrams.

One-way link words
"Link words" are ones between def. and wordplay - e.g. "in" or "as". These two can be used regardless of the order of def. and wordplay. The following two must be used with one order only:
{wordplay} for {def}
{def} from {wordplay}

Capital letters
Words that require capital letters in the cryptic reading must have them. However, 'deceptive capitalisation' is permitted. In other words, a word with a capital letter in the clue doesn't necessarily have a wordplay meaning requiring a capital letter - so Joanna Strong's instrument (10) could be PIANO,FORTE. This example shows why I'm not a Times setter and probably never will be - Times setters avoid cheesy fictional names which are usually a dead giveaway, and even more so, clashes of word-meanings between the def. and wordplay.

One
"one" in a clue can indicate I in an answer, but not A.

Definition by example
To use "bay" in a clue to mean "horse" in an answer used to require a word like "perhaps" to indicate definition by example. Under Richard Browne, this is not always required.

Infinitives
'to' in the infinitive in a clue can be ignored in the answer - e.g. It's trendy to like old colour for IN,DIG,O

Numbers in digits
In clues, these point to answers to other clues. But only in print - for reasons I don't understand, the web-site version of the puzzle often uses (e.g.) "three" for "3".

Reference dictionaries
The vast majority of answers other than proper nouns are in Collins English Dictionary and/or the Concise Oxford. My estimate is that 'vast majority' here means at least 95%. Occasionally, words or meanings outside these are used. A recent example is 'homer' = biased referee/umpire. The weird stuff found in Chambers - taghairm, kilfud-yoking, wagger-pagger-bagger, etc. etc. ad infinitum - is never used. (Exception: the 'Club Monthly Special' on the Times Crossword Club site). [Note, Sept. 2008: "99.5%" above replaced by "95" after a few recent words that seem to be in Chambers only.]

Abbreviations
The Times puzzle does not let setters use all the abbreviations in any dictionary. For one-letter abbrev's in particular, there is believed to be a fairly short list of acceptable ones.


Rules about answers

Living people
Names of individual living people are not used as answers (or clue content), unless they mean something else, like 'John Dory'. But names of (well-known) pop groups (e.g. ABBA in the 4/1/2008 puzzle) are apparently allowed. Sole exception: the reigning monarch can be referred to, usually as a way of indicating ER in the answer.

Drawing room conversation
Things like serious illnesses or derogatory terms are not used as answers. All answers and clue content used to be suitable for "polite drawing room conversation" but some risqué references are permitted now that would not have been allowed in the past. (No. 23652 has an example, for those with access to archived puzzles).

Brand names
As far as I know these are not allowed.

Endings and beginnings
Few -S plurals (limit of three?), minimal repetition of common prefixes and suffixes - you're unlikely to get two UN- words in the same puzzle for instance. This includes derived word-forms like -ING and -LY.

Rules about grids

Setters choose grids from a set managed by the xwd editor. Since about 1965, all grids in this set have followed three significant rules:

  • No more than half the letters in any answer are unchecked


  • There are never more than two unchecked letters in succession in any answer


  • Double unches are never the first or last two letters of an answer



Added based on comments on 23691: no two plural nouns or third person singular verb forms should intersect at their final S - e.g. CROSSWORDS and SOLVES. Setters are also advised to avoid filling the east vertical or south horizontal with "easy" letters as in e.g. SETTERS.

Themes and Ninas


Themes are rare in Times puzzles but are seen occasionally - maybe twice a year in the 15x15 cryptic. "Ninas" (messages in the grid, or subtle themes that don't have to be spotted to help solve the puzzle) appear more often - maybe twice a month
 
 
Abbrevs
The Mephisto rule isn't "anything goes", but "anything in Chambers goes" - as for the rest of the puzzle. All cryptic crosswords use single-letter and other abbreviations, but their rules about what's allowed vary. The Times crossword has had a fairly short list for one-letter ones (and AFAIK still does), which is mostly the ones in both Collins and the Concise Oxford. I'm currently prepared to use anything from Collins or the Oxford Dictionary of English (preferably not obscure ones from both in the same puzzle), plus a few from real life - N for no and Y for yes, and the card suit ones - I was surprised to notice that H=Hearts needs Chambers, and with a bridge column on the same page it seems daft to disallow them.
 
 
14 March 2015 @ 06:19 am


  • Jan. 4th, 2008 at 4:31 PM

This is a list of points about the Times puzzle that differ from at least some other cryptic xwds. (Posts with information like this that should be good advice for ever will be stored under the new "tips&tricks" tag.) Occasionally setters seem to take rules like this as a challenge and try to get rule-breaking clues accepted, and mistakes can be made, so you should ultimately rely on common sense and general principles of cryptic cluemanship, rather than strict application of this list of house rules derived partly from observation.

Some of these points are taken from a list on pp. 50-52 of Brian Greer's "How to solve the Times Crossword" - if setters know of changes to these since Brian's spell as editor (1995-2000), they are welcome to tell me by comment or e-mail. I'll update this posting with any points that I realise I've omitted as a result of future discussions.

Rules about clues

Hidden words
No more than one 'pure' hidden word clue per puzzle. (Reversed hidden words aren't 'pure' in this context.) (Limits like this are for 15x15 puzzles - if there are limits for jumbos, I don't know what the numbers are.)

Homophones
The exact rules are hard to determine by observation, but it seems to be that if the pronunciations in the reference dictionaries match, that's good enough. This allows post-vocalic R's to be ignored, as in RP - in an example from 17/1/2008, gutta-percha = "gutter percher".

Anagrams
No more than 5 pure anagrams.

One-way link words
"Link words" are ones between def. and wordplay - e.g. "in" or "as". These two can be used regardless of the order of def. and wordplay. The following two must be used with one order only:
{wordplay} for {def}
{def} from {wordplay}

Capital letters
Words that require capital letters in the cryptic reading must have them. However, 'deceptive capitalisation' is permitted. In other words, a word with a capital letter in the clue doesn't necessarily have a wordplay meaning requiring a capital letter - so Joanna Strong's instrument (10) could be PIANO,FORTE. This example shows why I'm not a Times setter and probably never will be - Times setters avoid cheesy fictional names which are usually a dead giveaway, and even more so, clashes of word-meanings between the def. and wordplay.

One
"one" in a clue can indicate I in an answer, but not A.

Definition by example
To use "bay" in a clue to mean "horse" in an answer used to require a word like "perhaps" to indicate definition by example. Under Richard Browne, this is not always required.

Infinitives
'to' in the infinitive in a clue can be ignored in the answer - e.g. It's trendy to like old colour for IN,DIG,O

Numbers in digits
In clues, these point to answers to other clues. But only in print - for reasons I don't understand, the web-site version of the puzzle often uses (e.g.) "three" for "3".

Reference dictionaries
The vast majority of answers other than proper nouns are in Collins English Dictionary and/or the Concise Oxford. My estimate is that 'vast majority' here means at least 95%. Occasionally, words or meanings outside these are used. A recent example is 'homer' = biased referee/umpire. The weird stuff found in Chambers - taghairm, kilfud-yoking, wagger-pagger-bagger, etc. etc. ad infinitum - is never used. (Exception: the 'Club Monthly Special' on the Times Crossword Club site). [Note, Sept. 2008: "99.5%" above replaced by "95" after a few recent words that seem to be in Chambers only.]

Abbreviations
The Times puzzle does not let setters use all the abbreviations in any dictionary. For one-letter abbrev's in particular, there is believed to be a fairly short list of acceptable ones.


Rules about answers

Living people
Names of individual living people are not used as answers (or clue content), unless they mean something else, like 'John Dory'. But names of (well-known) pop groups (e.g. ABBA in the 4/1/2008 puzzle) are apparently allowed. Sole exception: the reigning monarch can be referred to, usually as a way of indicating ER in the answer.

Drawing room conversation
Things like serious illnesses or derogatory terms are not used as answers. All answers and clue content used to be suitable for "polite drawing room conversation" but some risqué references are permitted now that would not have been allowed in the past. (No. 23652 has an example, for those with access to archived puzzles).

Brand names
As far as I know these are not allowed.

Endings and beginnings
Few -S plurals (limit of three?), minimal repetition of common prefixes and suffixes - you're unlikely to get two UN- words in the same puzzle for instance. This includes derived word-forms like -ING and -LY.

Rules about grids

Setters choose grids from a set managed by the xwd editor. Since about 1965, all grids in this set have followed three significant rules:

  • No more than half the letters in any answer are unchecked

  • There are never more than two unchecked letters in succession in any answer

  • Double unches are never the first or last two letters of an answer



Added based on comments on 23691: no two plural nouns or third person singular verb forms should intersect at their final S - e.g. CROSSWORDS and SOLVES. Setters are also advised to avoid filling the east vertical or south horizontal with "easy" letters as in e.g. SETTERS.

Themes and Ninas


Themes are rare in Times puzzles but are seen occasionally - maybe twice a year in the 15x15 cryptic. "Ninas" (messages in the grid, or subtle themes that don't have to be spotted to help solve the puzzle) appear more often - maybe twice a month.
 
 
 
jackkt
Richard Rogan
Last updated at 11:17AM, March 10 2014

The Quick Cryptic aims to introduce a new audience to cryptic crosswords and offer a step to solving the main puzzle

Today marks the latest in a series of landmarks in the history of The Times crossword. It all started on February 1, 1930, with Times Cryptic Crossword Number One. For 40 years this was the only cryptic puzzle appearing in the paper. Then, on December 19 1970, a new and larger cousin to the main daily cryptic was born: a square puzzle aptly named the Jumbo.

The Jumbo quickly became popular with solvers, appearing on Bank Holidays. On September 6, 1997, while the attention of the country was focused on the funeral of the Princess of Wales, the Jumbo went weekly, and has appeared on Saturdays and most Bank Holidays ever since. The Times2 crossword, a non-cryptic “concise”, first appeared in 1993 and is still going strong.

What we are introducing today, however, is effectively the opposite of the Jumbo: the Times Quick Cryptic will be a downsized version of our famous daily cryptic (which remains unchanged).

Appearing Monday to Friday on the puzzles pages of Times2, it will be reduced in size and hopefully in difficulty too, the intention being to introduce new people to cryptic crosswords, and to encourage those solvers who’d like to have a go at the main puzzle but feel daunted by it, or who can perhaps only solve a handful of clues.

One other difference you will notice is that, while the other Times crosswords are, and will continue to be, anonymous, the Quick Cryptic will be only semi-anonymous. A pseudonym will appear above the puzzle, masking in most cases the identity of a regular Times crossword compiler.

Will people come to regard Dazzler as dazzlingly witty? Joker as having a sense of humour? Grumpy not? Is Orpheus musical? Will Teazel tease?

As with any new venture, it will be difficult to please everyone. Inevitably some may find it too Quick, but my main concern is that some will still find it too Cryptic: for Quick and Cryptic are strange bedfellows. Any cryptic crossword must necessarily carry an element of mystique and obscurity about it: the word after all comes from the Greek for hidden.

However, I bear good tidings for anyone who feels that a cryptic crossword must be impossibly difficult: namely that nearly all cryptic clues are in many ways fairer than simple Times2 crossword-style clues: they actually give you two chances to arrive at the answer.

Consider the clue: Feline animal (4). Without checking letters we don’t know if the answer is going to be “Lion”, “Puma”, “Lynx”.

However, consider the following three clues: Feline animal’s connections, we hear (4); Feline animal seen in Mali once (4); Feline animal chewed up a mat initially (4).

They are all cryptic but you should hopefully, even if you have never solved a cryptic crossword before, now be able to hazard a reasonable guess in each case as to which answer goes with which clue.

The first clue “we hear” suggests that the answer sounds like a word for connections (or “links”), the second actually contains the answer (“seen in”) hidden somewhere along its length, and in the third “chewed” suggests an anagram of “up”, “a” and the first letter of “mat”.

Or, imagine that you have rattled through a puzzle such as the Times2 and are faced with the following, final clue: Prickly shrub (4). And the letters _A_K. You rack your brains for ages trying to think of the answer.

An ordinary dictionary is little help, so you give up in frustration. However, here is a cryptic clue for the same word: “Prickly shrub from bank, wild (4). Knowing that cryptic crosswords feature anagrams often, and given the A and the K and the fact that there’s a word of four letters containing A and K in the clue, could the answer possibly be an anagram of BANK?

If so, the answer must be NABK. If this obscurity still does not ring a bell you can look in Chambers Dictionary and there it is. An answer you might never have arrived at from the first quick clue.

Of course, I would rarely, if ever, allow a word such as NABK to appear even in the main Times Crossword. And I cannot promise that the clues in the new crossword will all be as comparatively straightforward as the clues for LYNX , LION and PUMA above, but the principle is the same. A cryptic puzzle will usually give you two goes at arriving at an answer.

I will divulge another little secret to those who feel daunted by the main Times Crossword: those puzzles do vary in difficulty. Yes, there are days when even the experts struggle to finish it before they’ve got off the train — on the journey home — but there are also days where the puzzle may be scarcely harder than the Quick Cryptic.

To echo a point I made earlier: when you are struggling with today’s puzzle don’t forget that it is supposed to be Cryptic. And to those of you who may polish it off in a couple of minutes and say, “That was a bit disappointing: what do I do now?” I will point out the word Quick.

Because, like the cryptic clue itself, we are offering two routes to the goal of grid completion: a path which is shorter than that offered by the Times Crossword, but also one with some more interesting obstacles along the way than the much-loved T2 Crossword.

Either way, I hope it will bring some measure of satisfaction to all.


Ten tips for solving a cryptic crossword, by Paul Dunn


1. How clues work
Most consist of two parts, a definition and wordplay, so in “Such a holy person in church room (6)” the definition is “church room”; “holy person” equals Saint — ST — and “Such a” is a synonym for “very”: so insert the letters ST in VERY and you get VESTRY.


2. Playful clues?
Some clues are more jokey, such as this famous example: “HIJKLMNO? (5)”. The answer is “water” (ie H to O, or H TWO O). These are often indicated by a question mark.


3. Anagrams
Words such as “moved”, “scrambled” “let loose”, etc, mean that the letters of other words must be moved around to get the answer. For example, this elegant clue: “Mixed-up Presbyterian’s a singer (7,6)”. Mix up the letters of presbyterians and you get “Britney Spears”.


4. Starter’s order
Look out for phrases such as “initially” or “for starters”, which show that the first letters of the clue words spell the answer, eg, “Initially indolent dosser likes endless rest (5)”, which gives IDLER.


5. In hiding
Some answers lurk inside the clue. So “Some dull academic a bit of a brain (6)” conceals MEDULLA — but beware: hidden words can run backwards (look out for “climbing” or “in reverse”). Sometimes you must look at alternate letters (indicated, perhaps, by “odds” “evens” or “in turn”).


6. Learn the language
Certain words are used to indicate letters in an answer. Some are obvious, such as S for small (check the label in your pullover). Others are less so. “Books” often mean OT or NT (for Old or New Testament), “men” can mean OR (for “other ranks”, men as opposed to officers) king can be R or K and knight K or N (from the honours list or chess notation).


7. Puns
Words such as “broadcast” or “audience” can indicate a pun. So “Audience’s wrecked corner (8)”, would be RECTANGLE.


8. Brush up your Shakespeare . . .
. . . and your classical mythology, books of the Bible, kings and queens, etc. Keep abreast of slang, ancient and modern: “rhino”, “tin”, “bread” and “brass” all mean money; “jolly” is slang for Royal Marine or the letters RM; and “drug” can mean the letter E (for Ecstasy).


9. Breaking up isn’t hard
Think about how words are made up: often they break down into separate unrelated words, thus rearrange consists of “rear” and “range”.


10. Stuck?
Put the puzzle aside for a while; often the solution is blindingly obvious when you return to it.
 
 
23 June 2011 @ 12:34 pm

by
Peter Myers, Alec Grahame and David Clime
From INTIMACY AT EIGHT-THIRTY
1954

 (The tabs open, to reveal a stand microphone, with a little red bulb. The little red light flickers on and off  and an ANNOUNCER'S voice is heard speaking through a mike back stage)

ANNOUNCER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Once again we present "The Starchers - the story of just an ordinary farmer's family”!

DORIS (in the broadest country accent she can muster): Ah, well, Dan'l, I've always said we're just a great big 'appy family ‘ere at Meadowsweet Farm.
 
DAN (holding his script as close to his face as he can and using his monocle like a magnifying glass): Ar!
 
DORIS: But I'm warnin' you, Dan'l Starcher, there'll be trouble if I don't get a new overall in place of this ragged filthy ‘ole thing! (She twitches her sables contemptuously) I'm ashamed to wear it.

 DAN (having lost his place in the script, finds it again): Ar! 

DORIS: Dan'l - you ain't payin' no 'eed to me. What're you doin'?

DAN (also broad Mummerset): Tryin' to piece out there' 'ere forms from the Government. As you know, Doris, I never 'ad no book-larnin' like, an' I'm proper foxed by readin' matter. Look - what's this word -C.O.W. - what does that spell to you?

(Doris looks hard at Grace who scowls back)     .

DORIS: Grace!

DAN: Eh?

DORIS:  It's Grace, Dan'I, Young Grace Freebody, come to see us.

GRACE (in the most timidly genteel accents): Hullo, Mr Starcher, how are you?      

DAN: Ooo, same as usual, thank'ee, Grace. Fit as a fiddle!  (He takes a hasty pill) Never 'ad a day's illness in me life.
(He takes a stethoscope out and listens anxiously to his chest).

GRACE: That's a very nice dress you're wearing, Mrs Starcher.

DORIS (exposing her fabulous dress): What - this ole rag? Why I run this up out of a flour sack twenty-five years ago.

GRACE: Well, if you like, I could make a dress for you. My friends say I have very good taste in clothes.

(Doris raises very disdainful eyebrows at Grace’s outfit)

DAN: Ar, well, that'd depend 'ow much you charge, Grace.

(In a flash, Grace opens her bag and distributes cards to the men)

GRACE (coyly):  'Course there'd be no charge to you, Mr Starcher.
 
DAN: Ar, well, we'll talk about that later. I jest want to 'ave a word with ole Walter Gamaliel first - hoy, Walter!

WALTER (in deep hoarse Mummerset): Oo-ar-ee-oo-e - how do, Mester Starcherl (He draws languidly on his jade holder)

 DORIS: Walter-I wish you wouldn't smoke in here. I can't stand that 'orrible shag o' yourn.

WALTER: Well, you know what they say, Mrs Starcher. Strong - baccy for strong men.    
 
DAN (laughing merrily): That's you all right, WaIter. Proper ole son o' the sod you are and no mistake. 'Ere-by the way. 'Ow's your King Edwards?

WALTER: Oo-ar-ee-oo, they're a rare ole size this year, Mr Starcher. It ain't them I'm frettin' about. It's Daisy.

DAN: Daisy? Why? What's wrong with the old gal?

WALTER: Well, look at 'er  - she's just comin' - look ... 'Ullo, Daisy!

DAISY:Mmmmmoooo-ooo! (After which, she folds her script neatly, leaves the mike, goes over and collects all her belongings and walk; sedately off the stage)
 
DORIS: Ar  - I don't like the look of her fetlocks.

GRACE: I doubt if she'll yield any more.

DAN: Never mind 'er, Walter – ‘ ave you done that muck- spreading over by the pigsty yet?

WALTER (shuddering in horror): Oo-ar-ee-oo. No, I ain't, Mr Starcher.

DORIS:  You can do it when you take the swill over, WaIter. There's a nice ole bucket of mouldy bread and cold gravy I mixed for you in the scullery.

WALTER (looking very ill and passing a shaking hand over his fore-head): Oo-ar.

DAN: An’ when you done that you can worm ole Rover, An’ if you got time, clean out that slaughter'ouse, It's a proper mess with all them ole tripes 'anging around.

WALTER (who has. been getting steadily sicker throughout this - very faintly): Oo-ar-ee-oo! (Walter pulls out a bright silk handkerchief, claps it over his mouth and with a final heartfelt "Ooh" he exits hurriedly)
 
DAN (comfortably): Ar, it's a good job we got ole Walter for the rough stuff. 'E's good enough for ten men, 'e is. Why…
 
DORIS: 'Ere - 'oo's that corning over the ten acre field? (She holds her script even further away to get it in focus) You 'ave a look, Dan'l – you got better eyes 'n what I have.
 
DAN (with his script even closer to his face): Well, 'e's about five mile away, but it looks to me like young Phil - yes, it is. 'E's ad  an 'aircut I see.

DORIS: Ar, so that's why you're 'ere, Grace. Waitin' for your young, man.

DAN: Ar! 'E's coming this way too. (He suddenly realises “Phil” is fast asleep at the side of the studio. He yells) I said 'e' s coming this way! (frantically ad libbing) Oo, ar, 'e's comin' this way ail right. 'E ain't 'arf in an 'urry too. 'E's runnin' all the way. Coo - did you see 'im jump that 'edge down by the sheep dip. Ar, 'ere 'e is. Come on in, Phil! (but ‘Phil’ is too exhausted by his journey to do more than croak feebly at the mike). Ar, I reckon you're a bit puffed after your run, aincher?

(Phil who is being fanned by Grace nods feebly)

Well, runnin' won't do you no 'arm - a well set-up young feller like you - especially when there's a pretty gal at the end of it, eh, Phil?
 
(He pokes Phil jocularly in the ribs. This is a mistake, since Phil immediately collapses. The ladies try to bring him round without success)

DAN: Well, come along, Phil - aincher you got anything to say for yourself?

(The ladies shake their heads sadly at Dan who looks frantically at the mike and then beckons feverishly to the wings. And from the wings comes the most countryfied yokel you ever saw. Smock, gaiters, leggings, shock of hair hanging down from a ragged old slouch hat, straw in the mouth, idiot grin revealing several blacked-out teeth, and large, round apple-red cheeks. He walks up to the mike and speaks).
 
YOKEL (in the most cultured Oxford accent possible): Ladies and gentlemen, you have just heard the one millionth episode of "The Starchers"!

Black-Out
 
 
07 May 2011 @ 12:34 am
I'll tell you an old-fashioned story
That Grandfather used to relate,
Of a joiner and building contractor;
'Is name, it were Sam Oglethwaite.

In a shop on the banks of the Irwell,
Old Sam used to follow 'is trade,
In a place you'll have 'eard of, called Bury;
You know, where black puddings is made.

One day, Sam were filling a knot 'ole
Wi' putty, when in thro' the door
Came an old feller fair wreathed wi' whiskers;
T'ould chap said 'Good morning, I'm Noah.'

Sam asked Noah what was 'is business,
And t'ould chap went on to remark,
That not liking the look of the weather,
'E were thinking of building an Ark.

'E'd gotten the wood for the bulwarks,
And all t'other shipbuilding junk,
And wanted some nice Bird's Eye Maple
To panel the side of 'is bunk.

Now Maple were Sam's Monopoly;
That means it were all 'is to cut,
And nobody else 'adn't got none;
So 'e asked Noah three ha'pence a foot.

'A ha'penny too much,' replied Noah
'A Penny a foot's more the mark;
A penny a foot, and when t'rain comes,
I'll give you a ride in me Ark.'

But neither would budge in the bargain;
The whole daft thing were kind of a jam,
So Sam put 'is tongue out at Noah,
And Noah made Long Bacon* at Sam

In wrath and ill-feeling they parted,
Not knowing when they'd meet again,
And Sam had forgot all about it,
'Til one day it started to rain.

It rained and it rained for a fortni't,
And flooded the 'ole countryside.
It rained and it kept' on raining,
'Til the Irwell were fifty mile wide.

The 'ouses were soon under water,
And folks to the roof 'ad to climb.
They said 'twas the rottenest summer
That Bury 'ad 'ad for some time.

The rain showed no sign of abating,
And water rose hour by hour,
'Til the only dry land were at Blackpool,
And that were on top of the Tower.

So Sam started swimming to Blackpool;
It took 'im best part of a week.
'Is clothes were wet through when 'e got there,
And 'is boots were beginning to leak.

'E stood to 'is watch-chain in water,
On Tower top, just before dark,
When who should come sailing towards 'im
But old Noah, steering 'is Ark.

They stared at each other in silence,
'Til Ark were alongside, all but,
Then Noah said: 'What price yer Maple?'
Sam answered 'Three ha'pence a foot.'

Noah said 'Nay; I'll make thee an offer,
The same as I did t'other day.
A penny a foot and a free ride.
Now, come on, lad, what does tha say?'

'Three ha'pence a foot,' came the answer.
So Noah 'is sail 'ad to hoist,
And sailed off again in a dudgeon,
While Sam stood determined, but moist.

Noah cruised around, flying 'is pigeons,
'Til fortieth day of the wet,
And on 'is way back, passing Blackpool,
'E saw old Sam standing there yet.

'Is chin just stuck out of the water;
A comical figure 'e cut,
Noah said: 'Now what's the price of yer Maple?'
Sam answered: 'Three ha'pence a foot.'

Said Noah: 'Ye'd best take my offer;
It's last time I'll be hereabout;
And if water comes half an inch higher,
I'll happen get Maple for nowt.'

'Three ha'pence a foot it'll cost yer,
And as fer me,' Sam said, 'don't fret.
The sky's took a turn since this morning;
I think it'll brighten up yet.'
 
 
06 May 2011 @ 07:19 am
There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool,
That's noted for fresh air and fun,
And Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert, their son.

A grand little lad was young Albert,
All dressed in his best; quite a swell
With a stick with an 'orse's 'ead 'andle,
The finest that Woolworth's could sell.

They didn't think much of the Ocean:
The waves, they were fiddlin' and small,
There was no wrecks and nobody drownded,
Fact, nothing to laugh at at all.

So, seeking for further amusement,
They paid and went into the Zoo,
Where they'd Lions and Tigers and Camels,
And old ale and sandwiches too.

There were one great big Lion called Wallace;
His nose were all covered with scars -
He lay in a somnolent posture,
With the side of his face on the bars.

Now Albert had heard about Lions,
How they was ferocious and wild -
To see Wallace lying so peaceful,
Well, it didn't seem right to the child.

So straightway the brave little feller,
Not showing a morsel of fear,
Took his stick with its 'orse's 'ead 'andle
And pushed it in Wallace's ear.

You could see that the Lion didn't like it,
For giving a kind of a roll,
He pulled Albert inside the cage with 'im,
And swallowed the little lad 'ole.

Then Pa, who had seen the occurrence,
And didn't know what to do next,
Said 'Mother! Yon Lion's 'et Albert',
And Mother said 'Well, I am vexed!'

Then Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom -
Quite rightly, when all's said and done -
Complained to the Animal Keeper,
That the Lion had eaten their son.

The keeper was quite nice about it;
He said 'What a nasty mishap.
Are you sure that it's your boy he's eaten?'
Pa said "Am I sure? There's his cap!'

The manager had to be sent for.
He came and he said 'What's to do?'
Pa said 'Yon Lion's 'et Albert,
'And 'im in his Sunday clothes, too.'

Then Mother said, 'Right's right, young feller;
I think it's a shame and a sin,
For a lion to go and eat Albert,
And after we've paid to come in.'

The manager wanted no trouble,
He took out his purse right away,
Saying 'How much to settle the matter?'
And Pa said "What do you usually pay?'

But Mother had turned a bit awkward
When she thought where her Albert had gone.
She said 'No! someone's got to be summonsed' -
So that was decided upon.

Then off they went to the P'lice Station,
In front of the Magistrate chap;
They told 'im what happened to Albert,
And proved it by showing his cap.

The Magistrate gave his opinion
That no one was really to blame
And he said that he hoped the Ramsbottoms
Would have further sons to their name.

At that Mother got proper blazing,
'And thank you, sir, kindly,' said she.
'What waste all our lives raising children
To feed ruddy Lions? Not me!'
 
 
22 September 2009 @ 10:26 pm
LET HIM GO, LET HIM TARRY
(Traditional Irish)
Gracie Fields - 1942


CHORUS:
Let him go, let him tarry, let him sink or let him swim
He doesn't care for me and I don't care for him
He can go and get another that I hope he will enjoy
For I'm going to marry a far nicer boy

Fare well to cold winter, summers come at last.
Nothing have I gained but my true love I have lost.
I'll sing and I'll be happy like the birds up in the trees.
Since he deceived me I care no more for he.

CHORUS

He wrote to me a letter saying he was very bad
I sent him back an answer saying I was awful glad
He wrote to me another saying he was well and strong
But I care no more about him than the ground he walks upon.

CHORUS

Some of his friends had a good kind wish for me,
Others of his friends, they could hang me from a tree
But soon I'll let them see my love, and soon I'll let them know
That I can get a new sweetheart on any ground I go.

CHORUS

He can go to his old mother now and set her mind at ease
For she's a mean old woman and very hard to please
It's slighting me and talking ill is what she's always done
Because I was courting her great big ugly son.

CHORUS x 2